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PM Modi to Visit Maldives, Address Parliament on June 8; Sri Lanka Scheduled for June 9

The relations between India and the Maldives deteriorated after the then President Abdulla Yameen imposed emergency on February 5 last year. However, ties were back on track under Ibrahim Solih's presidency.

PTI

Updated:June 6, 2019, 6:29 PM IST
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PM Modi to Visit Maldives, Address Parliament on June 8; Sri Lanka Scheduled for June 9
File photo of PM Narendra Modi. (Reuters)
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New Delhi: Prime Minister Narendra Modi will embark on a visit to Maldives and Sri Lanka from June 8 to 9, in reflection of continued priority for the neighbourhood in his second term, the External Affairs Ministry said on Thursday.

Modi will first travel to Maldives, in his first bilateral visit after retaining power in the Lok Sabha polls.

Foreign Secretary Vijay Gokhale said Modi is visiting Sri Lanka on June 9 with a very clear message of solidarity in the wake of the Easter bombings.

On Modi's visit to Maldives, Gokhale said it will be a first PM-level trip to that country since 2011 and both sides will aim to further consolidate overall ties in diverse sectors.

The prime minister visited the Maldives in November to attend President Ibrahim Solih's swearing-in ceremony, signalling the importance India attaches to the island nation. However, it was not a full-fledged bilateral visit.

The relations between India and the Maldives deteriorated after the then President Abdulla Yameen imposed emergency on February 5 last year. However, ties were back on track under Solih's presidency.

Gokhale said both sides are expected to explore ways to expand cooperation in a range of areas including defence and security and sign a number of agreements to deepen cooperation in specific areas.

He said Solih had requested India to help the country raise its national cricket team and a BCCI delegation visited the island nation last month.

"We are also examining the possibility of building a cricket stadium in Maldives under a Line of Credit or some other means of financial assistance," the foreign secretary said.

"They have requested for coaching programme for young Maldivian players, both men and women," he added.

Gokhale said issues relating to stay of two Indian military helicopters in Maldives as well as cases relating to grant of work permits to Indian expatriates have already been resolved.

He said during the state visit, Modi will be addressing the Maldivian parliament.

Gokhale said a number of developmental projects are under consideration including commencement of a ferry service from Kochi to Maldives.

On the visit to Sri Lanka, he said Modi will travel to that country on June 9 on a tight schedule, and he will be the first first foreign leader to visit the island nation after the Easter bombings.

He is visiting the country with a very clear message of solidarity and signalling our confidence in the Sri Lankan government in overcoming the tragedy, the foreign secretary said.

Sri Lanka was hit by a wave of bombings last month in which over 250 people were killed.

Asked whether India will help Sri Lanka deal with the scourge of terrorism, Gokhale said it is ready for any assistance to any country of the region.

He said Modi will hold talks with Sri Lankan president, prime minister and the leader of opposition among others.

Gokhale said Modi's visit to Maldives and Sri Lanka is a reflection of priority he attaches to neighbourhood in his second term as well.

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